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Terrorists’ mission was work of the Devil

October 12, 2001

Nobody will ever know what exactly went on in the minds of the hijackers, all of whom were Muslim, on the last day before they embarked on the deadliest act of terrorism in US history.

More than 6,000 people are believed to have been killed in the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington DC after 19 hijackers took over four commercial aircraft by force. They slammed two of the commercial aircraft into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre, one into the Pentagon in Washington DC and crashed another into a field in Pennsylvania.

In spite of the natural fear and anxiety, they must have felt a reduction, if not annihilation, of their selves so that they could seek glory in death. The terrorists believed that there were about to engage in the holy war or jihad, which makes for a guaranteed entry into Paradise.

Mohamed Atta, whom the FBI believes to be the terrorist leader, left behind a fivepage, handwritten document that, among other things, offered instructions on how to cope with the fear of death.

“Everybody hates death, fears death. But only those, the believers, who know the life after death and the reward after death would be the ones who will be seeking death,” it said.

Then there was a section on “the last night”, which began with: “Remind yourself that in this night you will face many challenges. But you have to face them and understand it 100 per cent . . . Obey God, his messenger, and don’t fight among yourselves when you become weak, and stand fast. God will stand with those who stood fast.”

Then the document dealt with prayer: “You should pray, you should fast. You should ask God for guidance, you should ask God for help . . . Continue to pray throughout this night. Continue to recite the Koran.”

It also promised eternal life: “Keep a very open mind, keep a very open heart about what you are to face. You will be entering Paradise. You will be entering the happiest life, everlasting life.”

The question is whether the hijackers were carrying a mission of God or a mission of the Devil. Apparently, they believed that they were embarking on a sacred mission to destroy America. But was the Devil at work?

If a communiqué issued on Wednesday at the end of an emergency meeting in Dubai of foreign ministers of the 56nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference can be used to settle this ques¬tion, then the terrorist attacks ought to be seen as the work of the Devil.

The Organisation of the Islamic Conference, which represents 1.2 billion Muslims, strongly condemned the September 11 attacks. While refraining from condemning the US strikes against the Taleban rulers sheltering Osama bin Laden, the organisation said it was concerned that “confronting terrorism could lead to casualties among innocent civilians in Afghanistan”. It also “asserted the importance of assuring the territorial integrity of Afghanistan and its Islamic character”.

Yet anger, on top of hysterical confusion, is pre¬vailing in the streets of Pakistan and Indonesia in particular, after the US retaliatory strikes on Afghanistan.

It threatens to further polarise the West and the Muslim world.

If the hijackers were on a mission of the Devil, then they must be disowned. In the Muslim world, we hear very little of the Devil. But as we shall see, not all Muslims will go to heaven if they deviate from Allah.

The Islamic concept of the Devil is believed to derive from the New Testament (Gerald Messadie, “The History of the Devil,” Newleaf, the UK, 1996) The Koran, like the Gospels, defines the Devil not as the servant of God but as his sworn enemy: “When you recite the Koran, seek refuge in Allah from accursed Satan.”

Messadie wrote: “The Hell of the Koran also seems to correspond to New Testament descriptions: no longer the Old Testament’s vision of a place in which souls languish without having to endure dreadful moments, it is the modern Hell, so to speak, in that it is derived from Mazdaism. It is called ‘Allah’s scourge’. In 27 separate passages, the Koran stresses that its fires are eternal. As in the New Testament, it is where the damned will go after Allah has separated the good from the bad, with the former going to the garden, the latter into ‘the dwelling place of the arrogant’.”

The shadow of Satan is rising again even in our modern times, driven by the forces of hatred and nihilism. September 11 will mark the beginning of the end, if not the end of the beginning. Since man can perhaps only be fooled by himself, we see the dark part of our human side in the ongoing, endless battle between Good and Evil. To go beyond Good and Evil, one has to go back to history to witness how so many lives were lost in vain. The “March of Follies” by Barbara Tuchman describes how the crusades, which appeared to be guided by lofty and spiritual ideals, attained little but the loss of many, many lives.

Thanong Khanthong



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